When it was time to put Harry to bed I noticed that he was still quite hot and he was holding his head. I phoned the out of hours doctor and explained Harry’s symptoms. The doctor told me that he thought Harry may have an ear infection and to keep up with the Calpol, but to take him to the doctors’ surgery the next morning.
That night I slept in the same room as Harry. He had a really unsettled night and was sick when I tried to give him Calpol. For some reason my instinct told me to turn the light on to see how Harry would react to it. It didn’t really bother him.
I woke up at 7.30am to find Harry was still asleep, which was very unusual for him. At 8.30am I phoned the doctors’ surgery to book an appointment. I put the phone down and went to check on Harry and noticed that he was burning up, his breathing was quite fast and his thumb was twitching. My partner picked him out of his cot to try and wake him, his head flopped backwards and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. I called an ambulance. I could only assume that Harry was fitting and he was doing this whilst we were waiting for the ambulance and all the way to the hospital, even when he was given oxygen.
At the hospital Harry was worked on by lots of doctors and paediatricians. Eventually, after a prolonged seizure, Harry was put into an induced coma. All I remember were the words meningitis and septicaemia. Eventually we were told he had suspected pneumococcal meningitis. He was sent for a CT scan and then sent to the ICU to be prepared for transfer to PICU at Bristol Children’s Hospital. We waited for the results of the CT scan. We were told it did not look good and that Harry's brain looked severely swollen and was damaged. We were told to expect the worst. It was all too much to take in.
Harry was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital that evening. We went home to collect some things and then my parents drove us to Bristol. Harry was sent for a lumbar puncture. He was also sent for an MRI scan a couple of days later, which showed that his brain was still swollen but not as bad.
Harry was in a coma for eight days before the doctors removed his ventilator. At this point the doctors told us they did not know the extent of the damage to Harry’s brain. Two days later Harry was transferred back to Derriford Hospital, where he stayed for a couple of weeks before we were allowed to take him home just for day visits.